Bosses and work­ers en­joy­ing changes

South Waikato News - - NEWS/OPINION - By LOUISE UP­STON

MP for TAUPO

With Christ­mas ap­proach­ing our shops and busi­nesses are notic­ing the work­load dif­fer­ence.

The South Waikato com­mu­nity has strong lo­cal busi­nesses ben­e­fit­ing from changes to em­ploy­ment law.

Na­tional is fo­cused on cre­at­ing jobs and pro­vid­ing the right con­di­tions for eco­nomic growth, that’s why we’ve ex­tended the 90-day trial pe­riod for new em­ploy­ees to all busi­nesses.

Na­tional wants to make sure em­ploy­ers have the con­fi­dence to take on new staff and to ex­pand job op­por­tu­ni­ties for peo­ple who strug­gle to get work.

In 2008 the Na­tional-led Govern­ment in­tro­duced the 90-day trial pe­riod for busi­nesses with fewer than 20 em­ploy­ees.

This has worked ex­tremely well and is a win-win sit­u­a­tion for em­ploy­ers and em­ploy­ees. A num­ber of lo­cal busi­nesses I have vis­ited have used the 90 day trial pe­riod and have em­ployed new staff un­der the pro­vi­sions. With­out the trial, these busi­nesses would have been un­able to take on new staff.

A Depart­ment of Labour re­port found that the vast ma­jor­ity of peo­ple em­ployed on a trial pe­riod have re­mained in work. The re­port said that most em­ploy­ers thought dis­missals dur­ing the trial pe­riod weren’t good and ac­tively tried to avoid them.

Ex­tend­ing the 90-day trial pe­riod to all busi­nesses is just one part of a pack­age of em­ploy­ment law im­prove­ments that we passed into law.

The per­sonal griev­ance process has been sim­pli­fied to sort out em­ploy­ment prob­lems faster, re­duce costs and im­prove con­fi­dence in the sys­tem.

The Hol­i­days Act has been im­proved to pro­vide more cer­tainty and re­duce com­pli­ance costs. This in­cludes giv­ing em­ploy­ees the op­tion of trad­ing one of their four weeks’ an­nual leave for cash.

Cash­ing in the fourth week of leave can’t be raised in salary ne­go­ti­a­tions and can only be at the em­ployee’s request. Max­i­mum penal­ties will dou­ble for em­ploy­ers who don’t com­ply with the Hol­i­days Act.

This change brings greater choice for em­ploy­ees in the South Waikato.

The chance to cash up a week of an­nual leave at the em­ployee’s request has a great deal of pub­lic sup­port and we know many peo­ple are look­ing for­ward to tak­ing up the op­por­tu­nity.

The Govern­ment is com­mit­ted to main­tain­ing a fair and eq­ui­table sys­tem that pro­tects the rights of New Zealand work­ers.

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